For four years I was an Assemblies of God minister and a monk with the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, founded by singer/songwriter John Michael Talbot. This is an excerpt from my book Taking Off My Comfortable Clothes: Removing Religion to Find Relationship.
When you consider yourself a “cool” Southern California kid, you think you can handle anything that comes your way. Move to Arkansas and join a monastery? No problem. Become the world’s only Assemblies of God monk and try to get the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world to accept you? Piece of cake. Joyfully anticipate taking a three-year vow of poverty, chastity and obedience, and even invite your mom to fly out from California to witness the experience? Right up my alley.
Until I noticed a little bump on my upper lip.
At first, I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something. Even though it was January, my mom was having some trouble breathing and we thought it might be a reaction to all the cedar trees. Yeah, that’s it. The bump on my lip is due to allergies. I took some Benadryl, said a little prayer and tried to ignore it.
But the bump grew larger, and eventually I looked like I got in a fight and came out on the losing end of a right hook. Continue Reading